George Logan, who has died aged 78, was best known as his female alter ego, Dr Evadne Hinge, the piano-playing half of the eccentric musical-comedy double act Hinge and Bracket, who found fame on BBC radio and television in the 1970s and 80s.
Hinge and Dame Hilda Bracket had met, went the legend, in their youth when part of a touring opera company. Now genteel ladies of a certain age – and from another age – they performed songs (for the benefit of the uneducated masses) by Ivor Novello (“dear Ivor”), Noël Coward and Gilbert and Sullivan. The two spinsters resided together (Hinge ensconced in the east wing) in Bracket’s mansion in the fictional Suffolk village of Stackton Tressel.
The comedy came from the waspish interplay between the two and no lack of double entendres and innuendo – but their characterisations eschewed grotesqueness in favour of consummate character playing from Logan and his performing partner, Patrick Fyffe.
During their witty, between-song banter they conjured a Britain forged in the frayed gentility of church fetes and draughty village halls. The characters embodied the stoical pluck of the am-dram, but the pair’s charming self-mockery was born from affection and a genuine love for the music they played (and sometimes murdered).
A perfect foil for the childlike, attention-loving Bracket, the precise, demure, and long-suffering Hinge possessed the drier wit, peering over her half-moon spectacles to jab in with perfectly timed, often cutting, interjections. Logan, gifted with an excellent ear, also arranged the musical numbers.
The pair broke into the mainstream with a successful 1974 Edinburgh run of An Evening with Hinge and Bracket – a purported recital that began with the pair handing the audience complimentary sherries. The show transferred to the Royal Court in London before a six-month run at the Mayfair theatre.
Moving again to the Ambassadors, they were commissioned by the playwright and producer Ray Cooney to write a follow-up, Sixty Glorious Minutes (1975). Now firmly established, they had success on radio with The Enchanting World of Hinge and Bracket, on BBC Radio 4 (1976-79), and The Random Jottings of Hinge and Bracket (1982-89) and At Home with Hinge and Bracket (1990), both on Radio 2.
On TV they starred in a number of one-off galas and concerts over the years, and made three series of their own show, Dear Ladies (co-written with Gyles Brandreth), on BBC2 (1983-84). They also appeared in a televised Royal Opera House production of Die Fledermaus alongside Kiri Te Kanawa in 1983.
Reportedly a favourite act of the Queen Mother, they chalked up two appearances at the Royal Variety Performance and on stage (in character as Hinge and Bracket) they played Miss Prism and Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Ernest (Whitehall theatre, 1987), and toured in a production of Peter Shaffer’s Lettice and Lovage in the 90s. Fyffe died in 2002 and Logan retired from show business shortly afterwards.
He was born in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, the eldest child of Sarah (nee Rae) and George Logan, who worked in the motor industry. There were theatrical cousins on his father’s side and theirs was a musical household, with young George enchanted by the Tchaikovsky recordings he heard on the radio.
His parents bought him a piano and he started taking lessons from the age of seven – by 15 he was being classically trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music. His formal education took place concurrently at Rutherglen academy and then the University of Glasgow, where he studied music and English.
A flamboyant personality in a small coal-mining town, he knew from an early age that he was different, but felt condemned to a life of clandestine sexual assignations until a late-night bus- stop encounter with four “obvious queens, all camp and outrageous”, who took him to a gay bar. They dubbed him Audrey Auburn – on account of his hair colour – and changed his life. “All the burdens I’d felt, this great pressure to go out with a girl to fit the mould, had gone,” he told his friend the journalist Liam Rudden in an interview in 2021. “It was like God had given me a huge gift, that there was a way through life for me that I had never anticipated.”
Logan moved to London in 1965 and while working as a computer programmer he frequented a gay pub in Marylebone. One day the pianist for the drag acts did not turn up and so Logan filled in and was soon a regular fixture, eventually conceiving his own solo drag-and-piano act.
Having encountered Fyffe on the scene in 1970 they – at Fyffe’s suggestion – formed a double act. The original conception was that Fyffe would play a retired opera singer and Logan her male pianist, but as they developed it the musical inserts became duets and Fyffe suggested it might be funnier if Logan, too, dressed as a woman – and so Dr Evadne Hinge was born.
Logan wrote a fictional account of Hinge’s life and career, The Naked Doctor, in 2014, and, the following year, a joyous, sometimes filthy, personal memoir, A Boy Called Audrey. By this time he had opened his own guest house in Limousin, France, with his partner, Louie Perone, whom he married in 2019.
Louie survives him, as does his sister Jennifer.
• George Logan, actor, comedian and pianist, born 7 July 1944; died 21 May 2023